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Leapfrog Group's Patient Safety Grades Show Improvement

April 25, 2018
by David Raths
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Five “A” hospitals receiving this grade for the very first time this spring had an “F” grade in the past
The Leapfrog Group’s spring 2018 Hospital Safety Grades report shows signs that U.S. hospitals are making progress in reducing avoidable deaths from errors and infections. 
The bi-annual grading assigns letter grades to general acute-care hospitals and is the nation’s only rating focused entirely on errors, accidents, injuries and infections that collectively are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety experts calculate the grades. They are peer-reviewed, transparent and free to the public, Leapfrog says. They are updated every six months, once in the fall and once in the spring.
Founded in 2000 by large employers and other purchasers, the nonprofit Leapfrog pointed to several signs of hospitals making improvements, including:
• Five “A” hospitals receiving this grade for the very first time this spring had an “F” grade in the past;
• 46 hospitals have achieved an “A” for the first time since the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade began six years ago;
• 89 hospitals receiving an “A” at one point had received a “D” or “F;” and
• Continued strong performance from states, including Rhode Island, Hawaii, Wisconsin, and Idaho, which once ranked near the bottom of the state rankings of percentage of “A” hospitals but now rank in the top 10.
“Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades have definitely spurred these improvement efforts,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog, in a prepared statement. “But the hospitals achieving new milestones are doing the hard work, and we salute them as well as the leaders, researchers and organizations fighting every year for patient safety.”
Leapfrog saw improvement in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. metro area. Maryland, which received Safety Grades for the first time in fall 2017, moved out of the bottom five in Leapfrog’s bi-annual state rankings analysis, with three “A” hospitals: Howard County General Hospital, Northwest Hospital and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. This analysis ranks states according to their percentage of “A” hospitals. Washington, D.C., also saw its first “A” grade hospital, Sibley Memorial Hospital, since spring 2013. The nation’s capital has consistently ranked near the bottom of Leapfrog’s rankings analysis. 
Additional findings include:
• Of the approximately 2,500 hospitals graded, 30 percent earned an “A,” 28 percent earned a “B,” 35 percent a “C,” six percent a “D” and one percent an “F.”
• The five states with the highest percentage of “A” hospitals this spring are Hawaii, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Virginia.
• Hospitals with “F” grades are located in California, Washington, D.C., Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and New York.
• There are no “A” hospitals in Alaska, Delaware or North Dakota.
• Forty-nine hospitals nationwide have achieved an “A” in every grading update since the launch of the Safety Grade in spring 2012.

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